Health Canada releases summary of comments from cannabis regulatory consultations

News release

Cannabis regulations will take a public health approach, including plain packaging and a warning symbol for cannabis products, to reduce their appeal to youth

March 19, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

The current approach to cannabis does not work. Despite the current prohibition, Canadians, and especially youth, are consuming cannabis in high numbers. The proposed Cannabis Act seeks to better protect the health and safety of Canadians, and to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. The Act, together with the regulations that are being developed to support it, will strictly regulate the production, distribution and sale of cannabis, require industry to meet rigorous product quality standards, and prohibit promotion and advertising that is appealing to youth.

Today, Health Canada released a report that summarizes the feedback from its 60-day consultation on the proposed regulatory approach to cannabis. The Department heard from more than 3,200 Canadians and 450 stakeholders, existing licensed producers and prospective producers, provinces and territories, and Indigenous organizations. The report released today also provides details on two key elements of the proposed regulations: the definitions of micro-scale licences, and the requirements for packaging and labelling of cannabis products.

An evidence-informed, public health approach is being taken to the requirements for packaging and labelling of cannabis products to minimize their appeal to children and youth, protect against accidental consumption, and help inform consumers of the risks and harms of cannabis use. This approach is complemented by the ongoing public education campaign to educate Canadians, particularly youth and young adults, about the health and safety facts of cannabis.

The provinces and territories, industry and stakeholders indicated that they would need advance notice of regulatory requirements for packaging and labelling of products so that they would have sufficient time to manufacture, prepare and make available for sale compliant cannabis products before the coming into force of the proposed Cannabis Act.

Quotes

"We appreciate the input from the thousands of Canadians, provincial and territorial governments, and Indigenous organizations who participated in the consultation on the proposed approach to the regulation of cannabis. We are taking a public health approach to legalizing and regulating cannabis, and we are committed to keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth. Measures such as the packaging and labelling requirements announced today will help to achieve this goal."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

"The input received from thousands of Canadians will continue to inform our approach to legalizing and regulating cannabis. We want to ensure that the cannabis regulations we are developing meet our objectives to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, and enable a diverse, competitive legal industry comprising both large and small players across the country, and displacing the existing illegal market.”   
Bill Blair
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

"The evidence-based approach to plain packaging and labelling for cannabis products is part of a comprehensive public health approach to ensure that Canadians have the best information to make informed choices regarding the use of cannabis."
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Quick facts

  • Final regulations required to support the coming into force of the proposed Cannabis Act will be published in Canada Gazette, Part II, as soon as possible, following Royal Assent of the proposed Act.

  • Despite the fact that cannabis is illegal, 12% of Canadians reported using it at least once in 2015, according to the latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. That rate is even higher for young people, with usage as high as 21% among youth aged 15 to 19 and 30% among young adults aged 20 to 24.

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Contacts

Thierry Bélair
Office of the Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
Hc.media.sc@canada.ca


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